On July 1, Tony Miano, a pastor and retired 20-year Los Angeles County deputy sheriff, was arrested by London police in front of the stadium holding the Wimbledon tennis championships, after a woman told police she was offended by Miano's words concerning homosexual behavior.
The London Telegraph reported that Miano was speaking to passersby from the New Testament book of I Thessalonians (chapter 4), warning of the eternal dangers of sexual immorality, including homosexuality. A woman, who can be seen on a video of the incident on the Telegraph website, complained to police, who took the man into custody, arresting him for using “homophobic” speech. “During the subsequent questioning at Wimbledon police station,” the Telegraph reported, Miano “was asked about his beliefs on what constitutes 'sin' and about how he would treat gay people in hypothetical situations.”
Miano recalled that “as the questioning started it became apparent that the interrogation was about more than the incident that took place in the street, but what I believed and how I think.” He added that “I was being interrogated about my thoughts.”
He told reporters that in no way was his speech “homophobic” or hateful. “I began my message by assuring the people that mine was not a message of hate but of love,” he recalled, as quoted by Charisma News Service. “I was simply explaining a passage in the Bible which speaks of sexual immorality and that people should abstain from it. I did not speak solely about homosexuality as a form of sexual immorality, but also about any kind of sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman, as well as lustful thoughts. All of these are considered mainstream Christian positions and have been taught and believed by Christians for thousands of years.” He added that “it was very distressing to be arrested and interrogated for openly expressing my deeply held Christian beliefs.”
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Photo of Westminster Palace in London, England